Hong Kong protestor

Beijing says it will unilaterally impose national laws in Hong Kong 'without delay' as thousands take to the streets in protest


China's foreign minister said that implementing anti-sedition laws in Hong Kong is now a "pressing obligation."

As protests continued in Hong Kong, China pledged to impose new national security laws on the city "without the slightest delay," reported Lily Kuo at The Guardian.

The laws, which would target anti-government protests, have become a "pressing obligation," according to China foreign minister Wang Yi. On Sunday, thousands in Hong Kong broke social distancing guidelines in protests opposing China's attempts to take greater control over the autonomous city.

Protesters chanted "Revolution of our time. Liberate Hong Kong," "Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong," and "Hong Kong independence, the only way out," Reuters reported, as police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray.

"The decision targets a very narrow set of acts that seriously jeopardize national security," Wang said, denying that the law would be used against media and critics of the government. "It has no impact on Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents or the legitimate rights, interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong."
hong kong protest

The laws were first proposed last Thursday at China's landmark "Two Sessions" legislative event, where the Communist Party sets out its program for the year ahead. They came in response to mass protests involving millions over several months in favor of Hong Kong's autonomy in 2019.

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said this move could lead to US sanctions, according to the Guardian. He also said that the laws could make Hong Kong less attractive as a business hub in the region. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly condemned the new laws as a "death knell" for the city's autonomy last week.

NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Boston Dynamics' robot dog has a new job herding sheep in New Zealand here's how it works